Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the railways to use technology developed through “Make in India” for its ambitious Rs 78,000-crore new signalling project, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said today, adding that the national transporter was assessing the delay it could cause in overhauling the century-old system. In an interview to PTI, Goyal said the prime minister had made suggestions on two projects of the railways — signalling and electrification — at a meeting held earlier this year.
“Keeping in mind the Make in India initiative and the fact that three Indian companies are already trying to develop the signalling system, he (Modi) suggested that we should consider indigenous technology also and in case it is found suitable, we should give preference to it,” he said. Asked whether waiting for indigenous technology to be developed would delay the project, Goyal said, “That is what we need to assess and report back to the prime minister.” He said there was also an option to involve international as well as domestic players and use the former for urgent requirements.
“We will simultaneously support the indigenous manufacturers to come up to the level of the international players. In any case, any project with international technology will largely be made in India for it to be cost-effective,” the minister said. The initial plan of the railways was to roll out the signalling system, based on the European Train Control System-Level 2, across its network and sources said that global suppliers like Siemens, Thales, Alstom, Bombarider, Ansaldo, STS, CAF, and the Memec Group could be considered for it. Goyal also said Modi had asked the railways to focus not on 100-per cent electrification, but on cost-effective electrification with a thrust on prioritising the routes.
“On the electrification side, he (Modi) said we should focus on prioritising which lines need to be electrified first. Where there is more traffic, the cost benefit is maximum. So, for every rupee you invest, you get maximum benefit. I think that is absolutely the right way in which a project should be assessed,” the minister said.